Tool Talk: Take a six pack to work

Recently, Ryobi Tools introduced an 18-volt cordless tool package that should prove quite valuable to builders. While most of the major tool manufacturers offer combination power tool kits, Ryobi has taken this concept one step further and developed the Six Pack, which is a self-contained work center on wheels for easy transport.
The Six Pack contains, as you might have guessed, six commonly-needed cordless power tools: reciprocating saw, 5-1/2-inch circular saw, 1/2-inch variable speed drill, 8-1/4-inch compound miter saw, spiral saw, and flashlight. Each of these 18-volt cordless tools are heavy duty and should provide years of dependable service. A detailed look at these tools should be enough to convince you of their value.
The reciprocating saw has a 7/8-inch stroke, variable speed from 0 to 3,000 strokes per minute, and is equipped with a brake. Blades can be quickly changed with a flip of a lever and the front shoe rotates for working on uneven surfaces. Both the rear of the pistol grip handle and the front hand grip on this saw are coated with nonslip rubber surfaces. This saw is also equipped with an ambidextrous lock off button that must be pressed before the saw will operate — a good safety feature found on all quality reciprocating saws.
The 5-1/2-inch circular saw comes equipped with an 18-tooth carbide tipped blade that will make straight cuts in dimensional lumber. This saw has a number of features found on higher priced circular saws such as depth and bevel adjustments, lock off button, spindle lock button, stamped width of cut and bevel scales, ripping guide attachment, rubber coated grip, and large trigger. A 5-millimeter hex key stores on the base and is used for blade changes.
The 1/2-inch variable speed drill has two forward speeds and reverse gear train and a keyless chuck. Low speed range is 0 to 350 rpm, and on high the speed range is 0 to 1,300 rpm. A 24-position torque adjustment collar is useful for driving different types of fasteners.
A removable spirit level/bit storage shoe is located on the top rear of the drill and can be used as an aid for horizontal drilling. It can also be removed and used as a mini level. Another bubble level is located on the rear of the motor housing and is useful for vertical drilling. A unique magnetic tray is located on top of the base and can be used for holding screws until needed.
The 8-1/4-inch, cordless compound miter saw has a straight and 45-degree bevel cutting capacity of 5-1/2 inches wide and 2-1/16 inches thick. Miter and bevel cuts can be made in 3-3/4-inch wide and 1-1/2 inch thick material. The rotating miter table has detent stops at 0, 22.5, 31.62, and 45 degrees, left or right. A bevel scale is located on the rear housing with pointers at 0, 15, 30, and 45 degrees. The motor can be locked down for transport using the top carry handle. A spindle lock makes changing blades easy, and this saw comes equipped with a blade wrench.
Other worthwhile features include an 8-1/4-inch, 40-tooth carbide tipped blade, electric blade brake, dust bag, dust guide neck (for use with a shop vacuum), lock off button (which can be padlocked), self-retracting lower blade guard, adjustable depth stop, work clamp, and left and right extensions. The owner’s manual contains detailed instructions for cutting crown molding as well as a compound cutting angle chart.
The Ryobi cordless Speed Saw is very useful for cutting holes in gypsum panels and wood paneling for electrical boxes. Equipped with the right bit, it can also be used for cutting ceramic tile, plastic laminates, ceiling tiles, and many other materials. This ergonomically designed tool is easy to grasp when operating in different positions and at different angles. It has a no-load speed of 26,000 rpm. A number of worthwhile features are included such as depth adjustment ring, wrench for bit changes, spindle lock, two collets, and two bits. A circle-cutting guide is also included.
The 18-volt flashlight has a convenient on/off trigger and a very bright xenon bulb. This flashlight will stand on its battery base and the head can be rotated 180 degrees to put illumination just where you need it.
The Six Pack comes with three nickel-cadmium 18-volt batteries and a one-hour battery charger. The charger has LED lights that indicate fast charging mode (red), fully charged (green), trickle charge, or faulty battery (green and yellow).
The Six Pack is a multi-functional storage container/work center. It has a telescopic handle and 6-inch wheels for easy transport. The top lid serves as a flat work surface, and bolted to the underside is the miter saw. When lifted out and reinstalled, the miter saw is ready for action. Two latches on the top lid can be secured with padlocks. The front panel drops down and reveals two sliding trays. The top tray provides storage for three batteries, charger, miter saw work clamp, speed saw circle cutting guide, and miscellaneous hand tools (blade wrenches, hex keys, etc.).
The lower shelf contains the circular saw, reciprocating saw, drill, speed saw, and flashlight. Spare saw blades are stored under the lower shelf. Each internal side of the case provides additional storage for miter saw extension arms and owners manuals.
The front panel has slots for commonly used drill and driver bits (not included), and can be padlocked to prevent unauthorized access. The weight of the Six Pack is 77 pounds, fully loaded with all of the power tools needed for a typical workday.
All Ryobi cordless power tools in the Six Pack carry a 30-day money-back guarantee and are covered by a two-year warranty. Probably the best news of all is the Six Pack sells for $399, which is considerably less than other cordless tool combination

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